Sometimes it’s in the small details that you start to understand an organization and the people active in that organization. Perhaps we got a glimpse last week into how the District 91 schools operate in a matter so small as the $600 price differential on the purchase of a truck.
Let’s start by saying we are not casting aspersions here on anyone involved. The split decision to favor a local vendor for the truck over a just-across-the-village border vendor for the truck will not go down in the annals of government malfeasance. It is just interesting.
That the final vote was a 3-2 tally suggests that all parties were properly conflicted on the topic.
Here’s the deal: The local schools needed a new pickup truck with a snowplow attached. School officials properly went through a public bidding process. The two low bids came in from nearby truck dealers – Currie Motors on Roosevelt Road in Forest Park and Rizza Ford on Harlem Avenue just a smidge south of Forest Park.
The Currie bid of $27,615 was $632 higher than Rizza’s. But Supt. Lou Cavallo recommended the board set aside its policy of taking the low bid and instead opt to support a local business that broadly supports the village with its property taxes and other virtues. The board president, Frank Mott, and board member Joan White voted to follow the set policy and take the low bid. They were outvoted by the three other school board members.
We see both sides. We think it is a narrow call. Ultimately, though, we side with the minority and see the greater benefit in consistently applying the worthy measure of taking the low, responsible bid.
Finally, we commend all involved for having an honest discussion of an interesting governance issue and having that discussion in public and with civility. This is a good school board and administration, and we enjoy watching their minds work.